When I was about 21 I started to have very vivid deja vu; to the point where it repeated in my head for minutes. At the time I was confused but thought, it’s normal everyone gets it. Then it got worse. I had them for longer and longer; conversations would go on in my head for even longer to the point where I’d start having blackouts in my day.
I kept it a secret for a year and a half. I began student teaching and thought that these daily issues were nothing worrying I can get through them. “I can’t become a teacher with whatever this is” so I chose to hide it. I was still driving because epilepsy was never a thought with this. Finally, I went to the doctor and she decided I had anxiety and said I should just focus on breathing. At this point I’d still be driving and just trying to breathe through , what I now know is, an aura. There were days I’d get home and not remember the drive home (just soooo scary to think I was doing this, but still, epilepsy was not a thought)
Eventually, halfway through student teaching my sister heard me in my bed she came in thinking I was sleep talking then heard this unbelievable scream (that she still can’t think about). I fell off my bed and started having my first tonic clonic seizure. They called an ambulance and, after a few more, I was diagnosed with temporal lobe epilepsy.
I was then told exactly what I feared by my mentor teacher I was working with at the time “you probably should think of a new career” (I now know this was wrong and I should have told someone). I was ready to give up but my mum and sister would not let me they drove me to work and back everyday, they listened to me cry and cry over how hard my life was and how it wasn’t fair.
6 months later, I got my diploma. I became a teacher! I worked with my neurologist to take control of my epilepsy (although I don’t have a trigger, I know how lucky I am to have this controlled within 3 years). Now, I live in New Zealand all the way across the world, living my best life!
This is all thanks to support and openness I have now and the knowledge of my rights. I can be employed with this, others can’t say what that one teacher said to me, we are not different or beneath others. Epilepsy changed me but I’m still me.